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>> hello everyone. welcome to our special coverage of the events in japan. >> welcome. >> here are the top stories of this hour. workers at the fukushima nuclear plant are scrambling to save the reactors from a meltdown following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. in libya, the government says its supporters are making gains at the expense of rivals. the u.n. secretary general urges all sidein the conflict to cause a ceasefire.
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captioned by the national captioning institute >> nuclear experts in japan are still battling to prevent a meltdown at the fukushima power plant. concerns are growing about a pool holding spent nuclear fuel at the reactor complex. workers are using all means possible to cool the reactors that were damaged in the earthquake. the plant had to be evacuated temporarily at one point due to high levels of radiation. >> dense clouds of stream rose from the fukushima nuclear plant on wednesday. but the fire in reactor four was of less concern to the authorities than a possible fracture to the containment vessel of reactor three. partial meltdown likely occurred in at least one of the six reactors. the biggest fear is that the
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molten mass could penetrate the steel hull and release regular active material into the environment. radioactivity levels have fluctuated at the plant. the 50 or so workers remaining inside were temporarily evacuated at one point to protect their health. an attempt to send helicopters in to douse the reactors was broken off. now officials are considering cooling the reactors with water cannons. a spokesman for the japanese government tried to reassure the public, saying radiation in the vicinity posed no immediate danger. but she added japan was considering asking the u.s. military for assistance. the nuclear emergency has forced the evacuation of more than 400,000 people. those in the affected area lineup for hours for drinking water, food, and other essential
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goods. most of remained, in the face of enormous hardship and confusing news -- confusing news. now some are growing anxious. >> i am extremely uneasy. information is so complex, and i cannot make any decisions by myself. i am really confused. >> emergency officials are checking people at shelters who fled the affected area for higher levels of radiation. but levels so far are of little concern, as is limited radioactivity directed in drinking water in the fukushima area. >> the japanese emperor has expressed his deep concern about the nuclear crisis. in a rare address to the nation, he called on the japanese people to reach out and help each other in this time of national suffering. in the disaster areas in the country's northeast, hundreds of
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thousands of people are still facing shortages of fuel and water. food is being rationed as the search for survivors goes on. >> restores considered the grim -- continued the grim task of hunting for victims. but cold and snow have slowed their efforts. the odds of finding anyone alive after last week's disaster are overwhelming. crews have mostly recovered bodies in the shattered remains of japan's coastal communities. corpses were laid out in a nearby gymnasium, where survivors look for parents, children, or friends, most of them kept on looking. those who escaped the tsunami unscathed have crowded into makeshift shelters. electricity and heating is being rationed, and in some places food stocks are beginning to run low.
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people are concerned. >> we are only getting a little bit of rice. i am worried my doctor will not have enough to eat -- my daughter will not have enough to eat, but it is better than nothing. >> shelves are bare. no one knows when the next delivery will come. this doctor said he called around, but did not know when he would receive more medicine. aftershocks have little japan. no one can say when the nightmare will and. >> the japanese are trying to resume live as they know it, despite the critical situation in the country. for the millions of people who live in and around tokyo, that means returning to work or school what keeping a close eye on shifting weather patterns and the level of radiation in the air. >> it is an attempt to preserve
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normalcy. people in tokyo are trying to carry on as usual, bringing their children to kindergarten as on any other day. >> i do not want to bring my children. i want them to have as much fun as they can. i want them to feel good. they should be able to do everything they always do, and that does not harm them. i will not let my children see how afraid i am. >> five days after the earthquake of japan's northeast coast, the streets of tokyo are quieter than usual. electricity is being rationed. residents are trying to adapt to the new circumstances. >> i have turned off the lights outside my shop. there is relative calm in the japanese capital. people monitor the weather around the crippled power plant.
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the fear is that the wind direction could change and blow radiation toward tokyo. >> usually, there is much more going on here at midday, but now there are a lot less people around. >> official said radiation levels in the city have increased, but they are not deemed harmful. >> aid organizations have beenç given a massive task of dealing with the disaster in japan. we spokeo the chairman of the german comedy for disaster reduction. we began by asking him the biggest challenges facing the authorities in japan. >> the biggest challenges obviously are to provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation to the homeless people, people which lost their homes and which now are somewhere and need shelter or something else.
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this is an enormous logistical task. you have to care about them. you have to bring the items on the spot. the infrastructure is partly or totally destroyed. >> a major disaster is expanding in japan. how can a country compare -- prepare for a disaster like this? >> for disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, the japanese have been prepared well. the have a lot of experience with natural disasters. they have done a lot of exercises, had a lot of planning. this scale of disaster i think is overwhelming, the worst disaster. >> what is germany doing to help in the disaster relief effort in japan?
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"first aid we provided which was accepted by japan was an urban search and rescue team, which was deployed in japan, which is now retreating because there is obviously the hot spot where they have been deployed, and a chance to rescue people alive. the second one is that we provide assistance to industry. also we can provide assistance if it is asked with a couple of specialists about radioactivity disaster management specialists. but i think that depends on what japan needs from us. >> that was an interview from earlier. the road to recovery in japan is a very long one. >> will talk about the costs
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now. there is a long road ahead. it will take not only years, but substantial funds to rebuild after the devastation in japan for an industrialized nation that is already heavily indebted. the cost is still the epochal to cartilage. the consequences of potential nuclear disaster are not included in preliminary estimates. o>> sendai, the biggest port in northeastern japan, lies in devastation. the earthquake and tsunami killed thousands of people, and hundreds of thousands of lost everything. the economic fallout is still the epochal to estimate. but it is likely to exceed the effects of the 1995 kobe earthquake. a portion was covered by insurers, who will be absorbing damages this time as well. but the burden of reconstruction will fall on japanese investors
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and businesses who have been major buyers of global debt. japanese investors have purchased 270 billion year rose and latin-american bonds. they also hold 500 billion euros of u.s. treasurys. but most of their money lies in european government bonds. that has eased pressure on eurozone nations burdened with sovereign debt, countries like spain and portugal, who now face a problem if japanese investors start selling overseas assets to pay for construction at home. >> japan's central bank has been pumping trillions of yen into the money markets to stabilize them in the short term. on wednesday, investors finally started to buy again. on the nikkei after hey declines of 6% monday and tuesday, the benchmark index jumped 5.7% on wednesday, coming
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back above the 7000 level. ongoing fears of a nuclear disaster continue to cause concern among investors. wednesday's gains did not extend to the european markets, which ended the day in the red. we have this report from frankfurt. >> it seems the daax could take a break from its heavy losses and sell-offs monday and tuesday, but at the end of the session the dax has been down 2%. the critical situation in fukushima drag down the mood on the frankfurt floor. the dow jones continued its losses. this led to some fear in frankfurt. in the end, investors looked at other prices -- other crises. the world is full of them, especially in libya. the situation is totally
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unclear. the strike down the mood, as traders told me here. >> here is a quick look at the numbers in more detail, beginning in frankfurt, where germany's blue-chip dax closed at 6515. the dow jones industrial average closed at 11,613. the euro declining against the dollar today at $1.3893. germany has decided to shut down seven of its 17 nuclear power plants. that is leading to a drop in power supplies and putting upward pressure on electricity prices. in leipzig, the price permit what our on wednesday hit a two- year high above 59 euros. it is a huge burden for energy?- intensive companies such as steel producers and the chemical sector. in japan, the impact of the
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quick on the global economy could be worse than previously thought. japan is a major exporter of high-tech components, and with large parts of their infrastructure crippled, companies around the world may face a supply disruptions for electronics. >> japan produces 20% of the world computer chips. the chips are used in a number of consumer products, including cars, cameras, and computer game consoles. toshiba, sunny, and a touchy -- sony, and hitachi are all located away from the center of the quake, but many have had to stop production. clean room laboratories are completely dust free and cost millions to build. these labs now to -- not need to be checked and tested. that could mean months of mass
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production. analysts expect a major price increase on the worldwide market for computer chips. >> the events in japan could affect u.k. interest rate policy. japan's problems could continue -- could cause another global economic slowdown. the european central bank may postpone anticipated rate hikes in the coming months. jean-claude tree shea signaled an increase in the record low interest rate was likely in april 2, rising inflation in the eurozone. portugals borrowing cost rose on wednesday after a debt auction drew only moderate demand. the government believes it is down to the opposition's refusal to back the latest austerity plans. the yield on bonds increased to four with 3% amid concerns the country would have to read it
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to 4.3% amid concerns the got-- the yield on bonds increased to 4.3% amid concerns the country would have to borrow more to ride out the debt crisis. back to you for a recap on japan. >> we would like to let you know some of the developments happening in japan at this moment. workers at the stricken fukushima nuclear plant are scrambling to prevent a meltdown. operators say a partial meltdown probably occurred in at least one reactor. fears are growing that the radioactive molten mass could penetrate the steel hull and potentially lead into the environment. the japanese emperor said he was deeply worried by the crisis in japan during a rare address to the nation. hundreds of thousands of people are still facing food and water shortages, and now snow and ice
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are hampering rescue efforts. >> stay tuned. after a short break, i will have more international news for you.
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>> welcome back. the son of gaddafi says government forces have all but retaken the main rebel base of benghazi. he said military operations were over and that the city would fall within 48 hours. forces loyal to gaddafi have retaken a string of coastal towns in the last 11 days, reversing gains made by the rebel army. >> with his forces advancing across the country, libyan leader gaddafi celebrated with supporters in tripoli. after a recent string of gains against rebel forces, they are confident that final victory is only days away.
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>> they think they will come here, take over libya, take our oil, take the great man-made river project, but they forget we are right here, and we still are. >> despite being outgunned, the rebels are fighting desperately in and around the country. gaddafi's air force continues to pound rebel positions. this area is considered a key strategic importance. forces backing gaafi are close to securing misurata. that would leave only benghazi under rebel control. >> military operations are over. within 48 hours, it will all be finished. our forces have almost reached benghazi. whatever the decision, it will be too late. >> he was referring to a un debate over imposing a no-fly
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zone over libya. the red cross has withdrawn its staff and has asked both sides to protect civilians. >> members of the german parliament have held a bate on the situation in libya, and the possibility of a no-fly zone over the country. some members of the opposition are in favor of such a measure, but the german foreign minister has cautioned against it. "german foreign minister continues to insist that libyan dictator gaddafi must relinquish power. it but he rejected calls for a no-fly zone. >> we do not want to become a party to a civil war in north afri. we do not want to go down a path that would see german soldiers fighting a war in libya. [applause] >> the opposition left party agrees with the government line,
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but the social democrats say a no-fly zone over libya might help put pressure on libya. >> the un charter provides for the use of no-fly zones. i think it would be wise policy to stand united on the international stage. this would show a clear intent to use all instruments available to us through the un charter. >> most german politicians have criticized france's unilateral move to recognize the libyan rebels. the critics say the eu must exert a unified stance. >> turning to bahrain, or at least six people have been killed in an assault by riot police. security forces used tanks and attack helicopters to overrun pearl square, where the opposition camp out for weeks, calling for political reform. police and soldiers fired tear gas and shotguns at protesters.
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this happened after the king called in saudi troops to keep order. for more analysis on the situation in bahrain, i am joined by a member of the german institute for international security. saudi arabia has sent troops into bahrain. how big a threat are the protests in bahrain for its neighbor? >> i do not think there is a big threat, but the saudis see the shiite protests as a sign of iranian influence in this country which is virtually a saudi protectorate. that is why i intervened. it is iran. it is not the shiites. >> iran is closely watching events in bahrain. the think this could draw to run into conflict? >> not for the time being.
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iran is preoccupied with the domestic situation and the americans are still in iraq. next year, the situation will change after the american withdrawal, and i think we will see an runyan reaction, because it is an anti-iranian move by the saudis. they think they have time. >> we seem to be witnessing gaddafi gaining control over libya again, and now this crackdown on protests in bahrain and other parts of the arab world, a crackdown on the democratic process. do you think this is an end to these democratic protests? >> it is not an end. their protests in other countries that are less stable. what we see now is the protests have moved to the geode strategic epicenter of the region. it is not libya. it is the persian gulf, with its huge oil reserves.
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here, other issues are at stake. that is why bahrain has got the support of the united states. the saudis will not lose that support. it is all about the geostrategic situation, the conflict between the u.s. and iran. the issues involved are a lot more important for the world than those in north africa. >> thank you for joining us. yemen has also crackdown on anti-government protesters. an estimated 150 people were injured as security forces broke up a rally in a western port city. police reportedly used teargas and rubber bullets. demonstrators are demanding the resignation of president saleh, who has been in power for 32 years. reconciliation efforts between the rival palestinian factions
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hamas and fatah appear to be gaining pace. the does a strip has been under hamas control for nearly four years, but the president to visit as soon as thursday. they are discussing the possibility of a unity government in the palestinian territory. this can shortly after president obama's confirmed he would not-- presidentd abbas confirmed he would not stand for reelection. the u.s. has fired a contractor after acquitting him of double murder charges. he shot dead two man he said tried to rob him at gunpoint. his release came after relatives of the dead man testified that they had received compensation, and were pardoning him under pakistani sharia law. the case puled entire u.s. sentiment and strained ties
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between palestine -- between pakistan and washington. workers at the stricken fukushima nuclear power plant in japan are still scrambli to prevent a meltdown. operators say a partial meltdown probably did occur in at least one reactor. here's there are growing that radioactive -- fears there are growing that radioactive material could leak into the environment. the japanese emperor said he is worried about the crisis, during a rare address to the nation. hundreds of thousands of people are still facing food and water shortages. to make matters worse, snow and ice are now hampering rescue efforts. we will of course keep you updated with all of the developments in japan, right
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here on "the journal."
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PBS March 16, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

News/Business. Breaking news from around the world. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Libya 10, Bahrain 7, Tokyo 4, Frankfurt 4, Gaddafi 4, Un 3, Japan 3, Benghazi 3, Saudis 2, Iran 2, Fukushima Nuclear 2, Obama 1, Misurata 1, Saleh 1, Fluctuated 1, Hitachi 1, Sony 1, Gaddafi 's Air Force 1, Fukushima 1, Eu 1
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